Hard Seltzer, the Easy Way

It’s no exaggeration to say that every company out there making anything vaguely resembling a liquid is now making hard seltzer. The Saturday Night Live sketch is so hilarious because it’s true, and you know what? I would legitimately purchase a variety pack including Men’s Jackets or Belts and Ties as flavor options. In fact, I have casually dropped cans of “Yard Darts” and “Skinny Dipping” into my basket as if those were on par with commonplace Lemon-Lime.

This profusion of hard seltzers can be chalked up to a number of intersecting trends. Alcohol sales shot through the roof during the height of pandemic lock downs, but most people weren’t trying to get smashed before noon. Lower ABV drinks have seen a resurgence as a more moderate choice, less intoxicating and more refreshing, perfect for a wide variety of occasions. Flavored sparkling water was already on the rise as a healthier alternative to sugary soda, so this extension of the concept appealed to the population that wouldn’t be as likely to crack open a heavy, high-calorie dark beer.

For me, a standard 12-ounce can of hard seltzer is the perfect serving size. It’s reasonable to drink in one sitting so leftovers won’t go flat, and is just potent enough to provide a comfortable buzz. Most 12-packs include four different flavors to keep things interesting, without having to commit to just one taste. Even if you get stuck with Jiffy Lube hard seltzer, it’s never so bad that it’s completely undrinkable.

That said, we can still do better. Hard seltzer is made from fermented cane sugar or malted barley, which is converted to alcohol. This takes special yeast and enzymes, just like wine-making. However, for even better and more consistent results, who said we need to go through all that rigmarole from scratch?

Here’s what you need:

Sparkling water and vodka. That’s it! You can use plain water and straight vodka to completely control the flavors through added extracts, fruit juice, or purees, or use infused options for one or either to make it even simpler.

If you’re hosting a party, set up a DIY hard seltzer bar with a variety of options for guests to mix their own. This way, they can also control the intensity of the alcohol, better accommodating both non-drinkers and heavyweights.

Here’s the magic formula:

  • 14 Tablespoons (7 Ounces) Sparkling Water
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Vodka (35% ABV)

= 1 Cup / 8 Fluid Ounces with 4.5% ABV

That’s roughly equivalent to most hard seltzers on the market. You easily have the advantage over the competition though, because it’s infinitely scalable and much less expensive in the long run.

If you want to go au naturel, cut the sparkling water with half fruit juice or puree, like peach nectar, apple juice, or tropical punch, both for taste and sweetness. That’s usually enough for me, but if you have a real sweet tooth, a drop of liquid stevia will help take off the edge.

If you’re a hard seltzer aficionado, what’s your favorite flavor? For upscale indulgence, I do love a bracing cucumber-basil lemonade, but by the same token, I still wouldn’t turn down Desk if you offered it.

Water You Waiting For?

Why is it so hard to drink enough water on a daily basis? Such a fundamental element of survival should come as naturally as breathing, and yet the majority of people suffer through perpetual dehydration, without even realizing it. The excuses are pitiful, but plentiful:

  • I’m too busy to remember.
  • Plain water doesn’t taste good.
  • It’s too cold/not cold enough.
  • Bottled water is wasteful.
    I can’t drink straight from the tap.
  • Public fountains are grimy.
  • Caffeine is necessary in the morning.

Attempts at increasing any sort of fluid intake usually end in poor compromises for me, using sugary sodas, sports drinks, and juices as a crutch. I know I’ll feel better if I just swallow my pride along with a big swig of pure, clean, fresh water, but it’s never the most compelling option in the kitchen.

That’s all changed now that I have a Vitapod on the counter. This formidable machine works like a single-serve coffee maker with individual pods containing nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and most importantly to discriminating drinkers like myself, FLAVOR. Formulated by a panel of experienced doctors, the overall goal is to supplement up to 15 under-consumed vitamins and minerals that leave 9 out of 10 Americans under-nourished. The recyclable pods contain 90% less plastic than single-use water bottles, and will be 100% biodegradable by 2023.

Choose between 11 different flavors that include watermelon, raspberry hibiscus, green apple, and even cotton candy. In case you need an extra kick of caffeine, you can get your fix from the Iced Tea+ (60mg), Sports+ (100mg), and Energy+ (200mg) options, too. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners in any of the beverage mixes.

The real beauty of the Vitapod system is that it doesn’t even need a flavor pack to function. The built-in multi-pass filtration system purifies water better than market leaders. Plus, the machine cools water to 50 – 59 degrees, which is the optimal temperature for hydration, allowing the body to absorb water quicker than water that’s too hot or cold. Simply dispense your drink over ice if you’d like it cooler.

Infuse your brew and take it to go in a reusable bottle and you’ll never go thirsty again. Now if that doesn’t solve all your dehydration difficulties, I don’t know what will.

Save $15 on a Vitapod Machine or Vitapod Machine Starter Pack at vitapodworld.com when you use code MOM15. Expires 9/30/21.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Vitapod. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Bravocado!

What’s better than bulletproof? Avocajoe is your indestructible, unbeatable, ironclad warrior in a sleek aluminum can. We’ve met this caffeinated champion before almost a year ago, before his greatness was fully realized. Answering the cries for truly upgraded coffee, without saturated animal fats, Avocajoe has finally arrived to save the day!

Forget the costly morning coffee run; this amber elixir delivers a lush latte experience at home, at work, or on the go. Velvety smooth and lightly sweetened with monk fruit, each sip lingers pleasantly, like a gentle, loving kiss. Easy to drink down in seconds, savor the moment before getting back to work, buoyed by the focused, slow burning energy that can only come from balanced nutrition. While a straight shot of espresso will send me flying at first and crashing later, this is one smooth trip, not a wild roller coaster ride to endure.

Available in three flavors, the Dark Roast could be considered the original; naturally sweetened coffee enhanced by whole avocado goodness, the flavor is straightforward but far from simple. Bold, woodsy, dark, and slightly mysterious, layers of flavor set this blend apart from the pack.

Taking that lustrous base note and adding bright, floral hints, Vanilla is the sweet, milky latte of third wave coffee shop dreams. Intensely flavored yet soft in texture, the experience is akin to a gentle wake up call for all the senses. Imagine using a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream as your coffee creamer, and you’d come pretty close to the luxurious taste contained in each slim aluminum can.

Saving what I think is the best for last, Mocha is my personal favorite of the trio. Leading with a creamy cocoa flavor, it reminds me of leftover hot chocolate that’s been chilled overnight, allowed to mature and deepen in complexity, then spiked with a concentrated shot of espresso.

Bolstered by avocado rather than typical alt-milks, Avocajoe is completely allergen-free; no nuts, seeds, dairy, or gluten to speak of. If you’re keto, diabetic, or just want a damn good iced coffee, it’s one-stop shopping here.

If you’re expecting drinkable guacamole blended with cold brew, you’ll be relieved to know that the green fruit only manifests as a rich, but not thick texture, leaving any objectionable savory notes out of the can. Served properly chilled, poured into a tall glass, you’d never guess the secret ingredient, but you can tell from the first taste that this is not your average Joe.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Avocajoe. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Whiskey Business

The Irish weren’t the first to turn malted barley into whiskey over 3,000 years ago, but they certainly propelled the distilled mash into the art form we know today. Baileys in particular is eponymous with the cream-spiked brew, ranking as one of the most recognizable, top-selling liqueurs worldwide. The brand itself has been around for less than 50 years, but you’d be hard pressed to find any bar without an open bottle handy.

That kind of success goes well beyond the “luck of the Irish.” Adapting deftly to the rise of dairy-free drinkers, Baileys Almande continues to make waves among the imbibers in the know. A subtly nutty almond milk base complements the notes of sweet vanilla, with a bracing whisky bite. You don’t need to be well-versed in mixology to appreciate that kind of indulgent blend.

Baileys isn’t the only option for luscious liqueur, though. Making your own at home is both effortless and economical. Taking a page from the original spirited tipple, my DIY approach incorporates a touch of cocoa and coffee for a gentle mocha kiss. Flawlessly smooth and creamy, a straight shot envelopes the palate like liquefied ice cream, with an extra kick.

Serve it thoroughly chilled, on the rocks, for an instant after dinner treat, or use it as the catalyst for bolder culinary experiments. From brownies to cheesecakes, French toast to hot chocolate, it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient in its own right.

Forget beer and seltzer; this is the real gateway drug to adult beverages.

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